The search for a man who vanished while fishing in Queensland, Australia ended when authorities found human remains in two crocodiles last week. According to an official statement issued by the Queensland Police, the remains belonged to 65-year-old Kevin Darmody from the small town of Laura. Officers are conducting a formal identification process and will prepare a report for the coroner.
Darmody, who ran a pub in Laura, went missing on April 29 while fishing on the Kennedy River in Rinyirru National Park with friend John Peiti. Peiti alerted authorities after he responded to Darmody’s screams and a loud splash.
“I heard Kev roaring about three times and I tried to look down to see what was going on,” Peiti told Cape York Weekly. “Next minute, I heard a big splash and I raced down. I reckon it only took me half a minute to get where he had been but there was no sign of him, just his thongs on the bank and nothing else. No fishing rod, no hat.”
The Department of Environment and Sciences (DES) and the police conducted a search and rescue mission that involved helicopters and divers. On May 3, DES officials shot two crocodiles, prompting an end to the search. The reptiles measured 13.4 and 9.2 feet. They were found just one mile upstream from Darmody’s last known location.
Known as “Croc Country,” the coastal areas in Queensland harbor approximately 30,000 saltwater crocodiles. That’s up from about 5,000 in 1974 when croc hunting was banned in Australia. A 2019 report showed that 2.8 crocodiles lived in every mile of river surveyed. While attacks on humans are rare, the Queensland government has recorded eight fatalities and 17 non-fatal attacks since 1985.
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Police called the incident a “tragic ending” for Mr. Darmody, who was well known in the area for supporting veterans’ events and for his past exploits as a bull rider. According to friends, he was an avid fisherman who did not take risks around crocodiles and often advised tourists how to be safe in their presence. After hearing the tragic news, friends and family gathered at Darmody’s pub to pay him tribute.